Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient

Exhibition at Columbia GSAPP's Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery March 30 – June 16, 2018
Drawing for ‘Container of Perceiving’, 1984. © 2018 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins. Photographed by Nicholas Knight

Columbia GSAPP’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery presents an exhibition of architectural drawings, writings, and research by Arakawa and Madeline Gins.

The exhibition Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient traces the emergence of architecture as a wellspring of creativity and theoretical exploration for the artist Arakawa (1936-2010) and poet and philosopher Madeline Gins (1941-2014). 

In the early 1960s, Arakawa and Madeline Gins began a remarkably original and prolific collaboration that spanned nearly five decades and encompassed painting, installations, poetry, literature, architecture, urbanism, philosophy, and scientific research. Complementing their independent artistic and literary practices, Arakawa and Gins’ creative partnership launched with visual, semiotic, and tactile experiments that questioned the limits and possibilities of human perception and consciousness. During the 1980s—a critical juncture in their careers—this line of inquiry became increasingly spatial as Arakawa and Gins together developed a series of speculative architectural projects that sought to challenge the bodily and psychological experience of users. Through these investigations, the artists began to articulate their concept of reversible destiny, arguing for the transformative capacity of architecture to empower humans to resist their own deaths.

The exhibition examines this pivotal exploratory period through a stunning array of original drawings—many exhibited for the first time—as well as archival material and writings that illuminate the working methods and wide-ranging research interests of Arakawa and Gins. It uncovers a little-known body of visionary work that anticipated the artists’ subsequent commitment to architecture and their realization of various “sites of reversible destiny,” including Ubiquitous Site-Nagi’s Ryoanji (1994, Okayama, Japan); Yoro Park (1995, Gifu, Japan); Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka (2005, Tokyo, Japan); and Bioscleave House (2008, East Hampton, New York).

Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient features over 40 hand drawings, an architectural model, and archival material including ephemera, research materials, poetry, manuscripts, photographs, slides, and other items drawn from the Estate of Madeline Gins.

Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient is organized by GSAPP Exhibitions. It is made possible in part by the Estate of Madeline Gins, and is organized in partnership with the Reversible Destiny Foundation. 

Curators: Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, and Tiffany Lambert, Assistant Director of Exhibitions
Exhibition Design: Norman Kelley (Carrie Norman & Thomas Kelley)


Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery
Columbia University 
Buell Hall
1172 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Opening Reception: Friday, March 30, 6:30 – 8.30pm

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

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